Friday, May 14, 2004

Moz on BBC1

Just watched Morrissey on Jonathan Ross's programme; such an odd fellow, and by no means as likeable as one might hope. Nevertheless, it is truly unsettling to watch someone who is honest when he is asked questions. Or perhaps it is all part of the act, I'm not sure, although he told Ross, self importantly,

"This is all real. Only seals perform".

Either way, he was caustic and obstructive in the face of the heavily ironic questions he faced. "Will you be my friend?", Jonathan Ross asked. Morrissey squirmed. "I don't think so", he eventually replied. "Why not?", the host came back. "I have too many friends, and you don't have enough".

Silence from Morrissey. "How many friends do you have?", Ross continued. "Seven", his guest replied.

"I don't like people", he said, elsewhere.

The two songs he played were very different. I think that Irish Blood, English Heart is a fine pop single, largely by virtue of that lovely, tremulous "there is no one on earth I'm afraid of" line. Yet the closing Every Day is Like Sunday, was just, ooh, magnificent.

Trudging slowly over wet sand
back to the bench
where your clothes were stolen.
This is the coastal town
that they forgot to close down

His voice, occasionally, still soars. We were wondering, my dad and me (for I am visiting my parents this weekend), how old he was when the first Smiths record was released. Because how does so someone so young, so serious, create such a singular style, such a self-assured presence? If Morrissey is a berk now, which of course he is, how much better that he is supremely confident and arrogant having done it all, having done so much, rather than being, say, Paul Weller, whose achievements are so lauded, and yet who pales into insignificance in comparison.

And not just him. How did David Byrne and Elvis Costello do it? How did they create such overwhelming, stunningly original material at such tender years? All my songs, my poetry, my writing before I was 23 I now find immature and derivative (and will doubtless think the same of this in two years time). So Morrissey can at least claim he earned the right, I suppose. The right to be above change, to be Morrissey above all else, the right to be alone, as only Morrissey can be...

"So Morrissey", Jonathan Ross says, "You keep saying you want to be my friend..."

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